Those who already live green know why it’s so important to incorporate eco-friendly products and techniques into your cleaning regimen. With a few easy tips, everyone can bring some earth-friendliness into their life, and their home. Get ready to up your eco quotient and save some money, because not only are these items effective at cleaning almost anything you can imagine, but they are wallet-friendly as well.
“Unfortunately, the ever-expanding arsenal of home cleaning products now includes several dangerous weapons, loaded with strong, artificial colors and fragrances and harsh cleansing agents like bleach, ammonia and acids,” said The Daily Green. “These chemicals can produce indoor air pollution by off-gassing toxic fumes that can irritate eyes and lungs. (Children and pets are most at risk.) Many cleaners also contain unnecessary antibacterial agents (pesticides, technically) that can actually make bacteria stronger, and more resistant to antibacterial drugs.”
To combat the negative effects of toxic cleaning agents, over-the-counter green cleaning solutions have been developed. But DIY green cleaners are equally effective, cost almost nothing, and take only a few minutes to make with simple ingredients you may already have at home.
Start with the “Fantastic Four cleaners,” said TLC. “Vinegar, salt, lemon juice, and baking soda can make your household tasks less complicated and easier on you and the environment.”
Baking soda is effective for “proteins, grease, and animal messes,” said Better Homes and Gardens. Because it’s slightly abrasive, it can be used for scouring — and, of course, it’s a natural deodorizer. The Daily Green adds that baking soda is great for cleaning everything from porcelain and tile, to kitchen counters, stainless steel sinks, cutting boards, ovens, and refrigerators, to even toilets.
For glass and mirrors, vinegar or lemon juice mixed with water and sprayed onto the surface works just as well as commercial glass cleaners. Need to polish furniture? “Furniture polish remains high on our list of the Terrible Ten (including drain cleaners, over cleaners, toilet cleaners, spot removers, silver and other metal polishes, cleaners and powered cleaners, window cleaners, bleach, liquid cleaners) because polish is usually made of petroleum distillates and solvents, both of which are hazardous and, well, smelly,” said TLC. “At the very least, they’re both poisonous.” Their recommendation: Mix 2 parts olive oil with 1 part lemon juice and apply it to your furniture using a soft cloth.
A few more tips from The Daily Green include:
- Kosher Salt and water make a great scrub when used with a wet towel or sponge
- Club soda can remove a carpet stain if used right away
- Baking soda or cornstarch sprinkled on a carpet and vacuumed up after 30 minutes can removes odors
- Spray a mix of vinegar and water onto wood floors and mop to clean and retain the shine
Or you can adopt this great tip from HGTV to clean your floors using something you probably already have in your pantry: “Use boiling water and two teabags to clean hardwood floors. The tannic acid in tea creates a beautiful shine for hardwood floors. Let two teabags steep in the boiling water for a few minutes. Pour the tea into a bucket. Take a soft cloth and wring it out in the tea. The cloth merely needs to be damp, not soaked. This will enable the floor to dry quickly. Wash the floor and be ready to be amazed by the sheen.”
No matter what eco-friendly substance you use to clean your home, with a little effort, and a few pennies, you can help protect the environment and pretty up your home at the same time.